All ADC’s use job simulation exercises. This means typical aspects of relevant management roles are selected for the candidate to undertake within a compressed timeframe. Types of exercises and how these are used will vary between different FRS, depending on their preferences and priorities.
Transferability conditions may vary between individual FRSs.
ADC Exercises usually fall into the categories of:
Written Exercises (inbox / in-basket or strategic direction paper), Group Discussions, Presentations and Role-plays. The role-play can involve a one to one scenario (the candidate and one role-player) or a group scenario (the candidate and two role-players. This may be three at Strategic level).
ADC’s in different FRS’s
Most ADC or use of assessment exercises will begin with the candidate reading Background Information that is relevant to the environment all of the day’s exercises will be set in. It is not necessary to do any research or studying before the ADC; all of the information that you need will be presented on the day. All instructions will be read out by an administrator before each exercise begins.
Whereas in the past all ADCs were part of a National Toolkit, now exercises are mainly purchased from specialist consultancies or sometimes they are designed in house. This means it is more different to predict exactly what they will cover. However, there are plenty of rules and best practice guidelines about designing assessment exercises, which means we have a fairly good idea of what you can expect to complete. Each exercise will assess a number of PQAs ideally with each PQA being assessed more than once.
Tip: You will be unaware which PQA’s are being assessed; consistent advice from candidates is to not worry about the PQA’s, and just deal with the issues that are presented to you.
In Basket / In Box
This is a written exercise which requires you to deal with a number of items presented, usually in memo, email or letter form. You will need to deal with the items, outlining the actions you would take in response to them. As with all of the exercises, the type of tasks you will find in the in-basket would be similar to the sort of thing you would need to do at either supervisory or middle manager level, as appropriate.
You may have around 20 minutes to read the relevant information and make notes. Then you and the rest of your group (usually 6 candidates) will have the opportunity to discuss the issues outlined and make collective decisions / recommendation based on analysis of the information. This type of exercise is less common now as it can be difficult to control group dynamics which can vary depending on who is in the group. This can make it more difficult to standardise i.e. make sure that all candidates can perform in a level playing field.
For this exercise you will have approximately 15 minutes to read thorough the relevant information and prepare, and up to 20 minutes to meet with the individual and deal with issues presented. It will often be a performance type issue which you will need to address and attempt to resolve.
The timings may vary, but in this exercise you will be required to deal with 2 role-players, who usually have their individual perspectives and expectations which you need to manage.
Meeting / handover / briefing / consultation exercise
This is the exercise that will vary the most depending on the exercise selected. Despite the differences in title, it is an exercise which involves you presenting information to an audience, either assessors or role-players, who will then ask you questions on your understanding of the issues.